I almost tried to ride my road bike this morning, on the theory that I'd stay on the roads and that the roads would have been plowed and salted. It took about ten feet from my driveway before I was glad that I didn't, as there was ice and salt sitting on the road there.
The first part of the ride, from my house, down George Mason, and starting on the Custis trail, was pretty smooth. When I got to the end of the Custis, I looked down the W&OD, and saw clear blacktop to my right, and snow and ice to my left (I guess Falls Church salts the trail, and Arlington doesn't). I went left, and that's where the ride got interesting.
I was able to make it down the several miles of ice and snow, but it was quite rough. If I hadn't had the spiked tires, I'd've been hosed. As it was, I still wanted to leave the trail when I got to Columbia Pike, so I took the road down Four Mile Run and into Shirlington. I decided, around that point, that I wasn't going to do the whole 20-mile loop I'd been thinking of, so I decided to duplicate the route that I took the other day, when my phone froze (and my fingers nearly did, too; and as a side note, I barely caught myself from putting the phone into the same pocket I'd used that day. Very glad I did).
This time, it was even colder than that day (16F today vs, I think, 21F), and my fingers were still doing fine when I got to Shirlington. I was using my PI Pro Softshell Lite gloves and my Bontrager lobsters, rather than the ski gloves. It was my first time using the combination, to mixed results.
My hands did stay warm for much longer than in my ski gloves, which is good. But when they did get cold, I had no options for warming them back up (except something involving stopping and taking all the gloves off, which would require desperation). So I have mixed feelings on them.
The bigger problem involved my jacket. I (barely) remembered to stick my phone in an inner pocket, so it stayed warm. But there was a problem with the top. When I zipped it all the way, I noticed it kept everything below my mouth plenty warm. That part was good. But I soon realized that was because I was hunching my shoulders a bit to keep my chin right at the top of the collar. Relaxing was letting cold air in. But that hunching became quite painful after a while, and left me with some very tense muscles between my clavicles and my spine, despite consciously unclenching once I realized what was happening.
I'm not sure what's going on tomorrow. It's going to be extra cold (9F is the current forecast), and I'm not sure about which bike to take. For sure, I'm not taking the road bike on the W&OD trail between it meeting the Custis and Columbia Pike. Other than that, I'm not sure. It will be a fairly hard-riding day, though; I can't imagine trying a recovery day in that temperature.